Dear life, I saw you today when you thought I wasn’t looking. You were on the corner of 30th and Colorado, waiting for the light to change, when you shook your wild mop of curls to fully greet the wind. You rode, hanging out the window of the SUV, tongue flapping in the breeze, a grand hello to all you passed. Your petals strained toward the evening sun, nearly flopping over in ecstasy like a dog having reached the ultimate, carnal itch. You didn’t know it, but–right there–you made me fall in love with you all over again. Shake your hair that way once more and I’m yours for eternity.
It was a weekend for lovers and my secret paramour (life itself) stole into town under the cover of grey skies. After a drink Friday night and long discussions of old friends, Jung, and the nature of the soul, we fell exhausted into each others’ arms, our hearts full and our eyes drooping with jewels of possibility. Saturday morning, we lingered in bed, sipping poetry and snacking on sunlight. And on a long walk through town, we held hands and remarked on the novelties of the season. At the end of the path, where the mountains allow only the lonely to pass, the Universe gently touched my shoulder and said, “Look there,” motioning towards the heavens. The sky was so blue that I felt I could fall forever upwards into it. As if just by tilting my head back and uncurling my toes, I would tumble, weightless, elbows over ears over shoelaces into the blue beyond the blue, all of my defenses spooling out behind me like pink petals from a wind-blown crab apple tree. That night, again sweet surprises–the Universe offered to make dinner but he overcooked the vegetables and I spilled the beer–faults quickly forgotten when he began singing melancholy tunes of tragedy and triumph and I became soft and sentimental, despite myself. Secretly, I vowed to stop being so coy and thank him for all of the ways he opens my heart but, that night, I fell asleep before I reached the end of the list. Sunday morning, no words were spoken. None were needed. We gazed out the window, occasionally glancing contentedly into each other’s eyes, wanting neither to break the spell nor to get ahead of ourselves. As I shrugged into a new shirt of delicate design (bought just to please him), I felt suddenly younger and prettier, as if the color blue were made just for me and kisses invented simply for my amusement. After noon, we parted ways for a time–him to make some phone calls, me to take out the recycling and give the dog a bath. Alone but with a full heart, I worked to massage warm water, shampoo, and every bit of love I have been given into my aging dog’s body, hoping that he could know like I do that, in the end, everything will be all right .
Much love to you my friends. I hope spring brings you many wonderful things.
Life has been quietly beautiful and easy lately. The way I’ve imagined it could be.
I’ve seemed to have a lot of inner resources–patience, humor, kindness–that I’ve been able to call upon spontaneously and not need much in return. And people and life in general has generally been patient, humorous, and kind back to me. Funny how that works.
It’s tempting to call this some sort of “achievement” on my part, to attribute it to all my hard, inner work. But that validation would miss the mark. Instead, what feels more true is that for now I seem to be strong enough to simply hold a space in myself where I can be watchful and open-hearted without feeling threatened or anxious. If anything, that’s my achievement. Everything else that comes out of me from this space–the patience, humor, and kindness–comes as if it were flowing through me rather than from me. And, for that, I feel incredible gratitude.
I know that this will pass, as it has before. My only wish for myself is that each time this season of abundance comes around in my psyche, I find myself, God willing, more and more able linger in it without grasping at it or trying to control it.
A few months ago, I decided to tackle learning all of the names of God by praying or meditating on each one, in turn. Now, seeing as how Hindusim has about 300 million known manifestations of the divine, Islam has the 99 names for God, and Judaism has 10 sefirot (attributes), and that’s not even getting into the Greek or Roman pantheon, I figure I better get cracking. You are probably thinking, “Why in God’s name would I want to do such a thing?” (pun intended;). But if you ask “why” you won’t get t the answer you really want. So, I’ll pretend you asked me “how” instead and let my gut, rather than my mind, take a whack at responding.
I was combing through my books of poetry and came across this one again. Usually, I revel in it with an eagerness to share the wonder of being alive. But, today, there’s a harder edge to it, because, rather than an affirmation, it is a thorny reminder–a reminder of what I hold dear, a reminder that living with integrity to these principles is not just celebration but also slow, painstaking work, a reminder that rising above does not mean ignorning my needs, a reminder that there is nothing else but this.
I was walking around Whole Foods this morning carrying two huge bouquets of flowers when a woman turns around and says, “Oh, wow, what gorgeous flowers!” And we look at each other and it’s my old friend Jane Ellen. We haven’t seen each other for probably 4 years. And, as always, she is just as enthusiastic and generous in spirit. The encounter reminded me that there are really a lot of genuine, good souls in my world. I’m damn lucky.
Another one that reminds of this is my friend Diana. Diana and her husband took in Doo Dog while Hermes and I went away to Telluride last weekend for the wedding of two other really fine souls (my old housemate and her gem of a guy). Diana is one of those people who has a smile and a kind word for everyone (and often a bunch of flowers to boot) and just naturally gives selflessly for the joy of giving itself. Doo had a great time with her and her hubby. And Diana even wrote up a diary of their time together to give to “Mom”. 🙂 So sweet. She has got me inspired to start giving out flowers to people again for no reason. I can’t tell you what a great feeling it is to make someone’s day like that.
Giving flowers to strangers is also one of the more awkward yet thrilling things to do. It’s a really good way for me to stretch myself. People just can’t believe that you don’t have some ulterior motive. And I get scared that they won’t like it or that I’m bothering them. Silly, I know. And perhaps I do have an ulterior motive. By reaching out to them in such a personal way, it makes me feel more connected overall and makes my world the kind of place where strangers really do do nice things for each other.
Afterthought: Jane Ellen said I looked great. She didn’t even recognize me at first. She loves my wild, long curls. And I do feel a little taller and freer and more beautiful than I ever have. It felt really affirming to have it noticed so evidently by someone who hasn’t seen me change little by little over the last few years.